Former eBay Executive Charged with Insider Trading
PHILADELPHIA—Christopher Saridakis, 45, of Wilmington Delaware, was charged today by information with securities fraud, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. According to the information, Saridakis, a senior executive at GSI Commerce Inc. (GSIC), provided material, non-public information regarding eBay’s pending acquisition of GSIC.
It is further alleged that on March 20, 2011, Saridakis, who was privy to discussions of a merger, sent a series of text messages to CW1 that began with the defendant asking if CW1 “...own[ed] our [GSIC] shares?” CW1 replied, “no, but it’s cheap.” This response led Saridakis to tell CW1 “you should.” CW1 responded with “ok,” to which Saridakis replied, “soon.” According to the information, on March 22, 2011, following the receipt of the text messages, while in possession of the inside information, and knowing defendant Saridakis’ position as a senior executive at GSIC, CW1 purchased and caused to be purchased 25,000 shares of GSIC stock on margin for approximately $470,000. On June 20, 2011, CW1 received $737,500 in exchange for the 25,000 shares of GSIC, equating to an illicit profit of $260,304, as a result of the text messages. Saridakis allegedly also shared the same material non-public information with family members and his neighbor.
“The actions by Mr. Saridakis clearly violated the trust imparted on him by shareholders of GSIC. The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue those who take advantage of their position for their personal gain and who place greed and a sense of entitlement ahead of the law,” said Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.
If convicted the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $5 million fine, and a $100 special assessment.
U.S. Attorney Memeger credited special agents of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, under the direction of SAC Hanko, for the investigation. He also thanked the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Washington DC office, under the direction of Scott Friestad. Saridakis and others have been charged in a parallel civil matter by the SEC.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joel D. Goldstein.